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BBC Revamping iPlayer, Says It Will Be the ‘Heart of Everything We Do’

The BBC is overhauling its iPlayer, with a new-look version of the streaming service to be rolled out next year.

The revamped iPlayer will offer BBC programming and channels and will span live streaming, catch-up, box-sets, and podcasting. Content will also be made available on the iPlayer for a 12-month window instead of the current 30 days, an change that received regulatory approval in August.

The iPlayer is already popular with viewers in the U.K. In September, it registered its busiest week ever, with 90 million programs requested.

At an event setting out its vision for iPlayer and BBC content on Monday, BBC programming chief Charlotte Moore is expected to say that iPlayer will become “the heart of everything we do.” She will also say that how the iPlayer will be curated will set it apart: “We’re talking about a cutting-edge tech platform run by humans, because in a world of so much content and choice, a dynamic curated offering will become more and more important to people and will set the BBC apart.”

The pubcaster’s boss, Tony Hall, is expected to describe the rejiggered iPlayer as “a new front door for British creativity.” “The BBC’s combination of backing great and different ideas, alongside a complete reinvention of iPlayer, will mean a unique service that will be of huge benefit to the public,” Hall will say.

The license-fee-funded BBC is fighting hard to retain top talent as the U.S. streaming giants localize their services. On Friday, news broke of Netflix’s huge overall deal with “The Crown” creator Peter Morgan. The BBC has simultaneously railed against the U.S. streamers and their impact on British programming and been an active co-producer with them.

While having programming on iPlayer for a year will enhance its appeal to many viewers, some producers and distributors are not happy with the requirement to hand over a deeper set of rights. John McVay, boss of indies’ trade association Pact, recently told Variety that the pubcaster risks pushing away talented producers who want to work with it but who do not like the deal on offer.

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